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Planning Events in China & Japan

  • 1.  Planning Events in China & Japan

    Posted 10-30-2019 13:04

    I recently took over managing a new global event program that hosts conferences in EMEA, APAC & the Americas. While the conferences in EMEA & the Americas are well established, the presence in APAC (Tokyo & Shanghai) is relatively new.

    For the inaugural conferences in Tokyo and Shanghai (2019) we offered free admission to our customers. These are one-day user conferences that include a full day of sessions as well as lunch & a seated dinner. Our colleagues in the host cities were adamant that no one would attend our conference if we charged a fee. They said it was not culturally appropriate to pay to attend conferences in Tokyo and Shanghai. Long story short - we did not charge a fee and we had a 40% no show rate which is what you expect with a free event.

    We are now planning our second annual conference for both cities and we want to revisit the idea of charging a small fee ($50-$100) to reduce our no show rate.

    My question: Has anyone had positive or negative experiences in charging fees for conferences in Tokyo/Shanghai? I'd love to get a third parties perspective/experience before we go to contract with another venue and start planning for 2020.

    Any insight is very helpful!

    Morgan Scalzo
    Global Event Manager

  • 2.  RE: Planning Events in China & Japan

    Posted 11-08-2019 12:01
    Although I don't have experience with that culture, in the US when we have free tickets for our young professional members we used to have a lot of no-shows. We implemented a policy, where if you did not give us a 48-hour notification of cancellation/where a no-show you would be black listed from receiving a free ticket in the future, and would not be able to apply for any awards/funding grants etc. We shot up to 100% attendance the next year.

    Kim Schechter
    Program and Administrative Manager
    Executive Director Inc.

  • 3.  RE: Planning Events in China & Japan

    Posted 11-08-2019 14:03
    I think people will be willing to pay. We attend many of the Gartner conferences and their IT Symposium is happening next week and they charge quite a hefty amount to attend and NEVER have trouble filling the seats!

    Rebecca Quinn
    Corporate Events Manager
    Transplace Texas, LP

  • 4.  RE: Planning Events in China & Japan

    Posted 11-13-2019 10:20
    I would absolutely incentivize a no-show policy for the simple fact that just because it's free, that's all the more likeliness of someone making a commitment they cannot carry out. Especially in a global market like APAC (where we've hosted events before) simply because the time and effort of even obtaining visas can turn into a full time job for you or your employees. For all the time and money wasted I would suggest atleast setting a grace period in which they are effectively charged if they do not cancel in X amount of time prior to the event date.

    Chelsea Benge
    Events Software Specialist
    Leading Real Estate Companies of the World